For the fourth year, the Ed Fund has partnered with the West Contra Costa Unified School District to carry out a district-wide campaign to increase completion of applications for public aid to support students going to college. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the primary application that students complete in order to be eligible to receive financial aid for college. Knowing that many students never get the opportunity to attend college because their families believe they can’t afford the tuition, the Ed Fund’s goal was to ensure that all students in the district had the opportunity to complete the FAFSA or the California Dream Application (for undocumented students). Studies indicate that increasing FAFSA completion can result in increased college-going rates for a district. Further, low-income California students have been missing out on hundreds of millions of student aid dollars.
In 2012, 33% of district students completed the FAFSA by the March 2nd priority deadline. In 2016, sixty-seven percent of district seniors completed their FAFSA or California Dream Application by the priority deadline. This is the highest completion rate the district has achieved.
Our Financial Aid Cup winner for the 2015-2016 school year goes to El Cerrito High School. El Cerrito edged out Hercules with 70% of seniors completing their financial aid applications by the Cal Grant priority deadline.
Five out of our six traditional high schools had completion rates higher than last year.
El Cerrito – 70%
Hercules – 70%
Pinole – 69%
De Anza – 67%
Kennedy – 63%
Richmond – 61%
With these strong completion rates, we expect WCCUSD to again be leaders in all of Contra Costa County.
The Ed Fund commends these schools for their commitment to ensuring that students are receiving the financial aid that is available to them enabling more students to pursue a post-secondary education. We are happy to present the Financial Aid Cup to El Cerrito High School.